2019 Summit Speakers

Keynote Speakers


Dr. Ben Carson
Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

On March 2nd, 2017, Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D., was sworn in as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For nearly 30 years, Secretary Carson served as Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, a position he assumed when he was just 33 years old, becoming the youngest major division director in the hospital’s history. In 1987, he successfully performed the first separation of craniopagus twins conjoined at the back of the head. He also performed the first fully successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins in 1997 in South Africa. Dr. Carson received dozens of honors and awards in recognition of his achievements including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. He is also a recipient of the Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Dr. Carson authored nine books, four of which he co-wrote with his wife Candy. The U.S. News Media Group and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership named him among “America’s Best Leaders” in 2008. Dr. Carson and his wife co-founded the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments. The Fund is currently operating in 50 states and the District of Columbia, and has recognized more than 7,300 scholars, awarded more than $7.3 million in scholarships, and installed more than 150 Ben Carson Reading Rooms around the country. Born in Detroit to a single mother with a 3rd grade education who worked multiple jobs to support their family, Secretary Carson was raised to love reading and education. He graduated from Yale University and earned his M.D. from the University of Michigan Medical School. He and his wife are the proud parents of three adult sons and three grandchildren.


Assistant Secretary Marie Royce
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Marie Royce was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs on March 30, 2018. In this capacity, she oversees a wide range of programs to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives through educational, professional, cultural, and sports exchanges that promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other nations. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) programs create networks and partnerships to advance U.S. foreign policy goals and address the world’s greatest challenges and opportunities. Ms. Royce, a former businesswoman and professor, was previously the CEO and Principal of Marie Royce LLC, in California before joining the State Department. She has over 30 years of experience in the private sector with Fortune 500 companies and as a small business owner, creating and launching start-ups and new initiatives and serving as a key business liaison to 80 countries. She held senior management positions at Marriott International, Alcatel-Lucent, Proctor & Gamble, among others.As a former educator and full-time university professor at California State Polytechnic University, Ms. Royce led an international grant program between universities. She has served on 20 non-profit boards, and as a private sector appointee on the Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy (ACICIP) at the State Department, in addition to serving on two U.S. Cultural Exchange Boards. She participated as an American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) delegate to Hungary and Poland and was recognized with the “2018 ACPYL Honors Award.” She was also recognized by the American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) with its distinguished “Internationalism Award.” Ms. Royce earned a BS/BA (double major) at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and an MBA at Georgetown University in International Business with honors, Beta Gamma Sigma. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.


Assistant Secretary Tibor Nagy
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Ambassador Nagy, a retired career Foreign Service Officer, spent 32 years in government service, including over 20 years in assignments across Africa. He served as the United States Ambassador to Ethiopia (1999-2002), United States Ambassador to Guinea (1996-1999) as well as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria (1993-1995), Cameroon (1990-1993), and Togo (1987-1990). Previous assignments include Zambia, the Seychelles, Ethiopia, and Washington, DC. Ambassador Nagy has received numerous awards from the U.S. Department of State in recognition of his service, including commendations for helping prevent famine in Ethiopia; supporting the evacuation of Americans from Sierra Leone during a violent insurrection; supporting efforts to end the Ethiopian-Eritrean War; and managing the United States Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria during political and economic crises. Following his retirement from the Foreign Service, Ambassador Nagy served as Vice Provost for International Affairs at Texas Tech University from 2003 – 2018. During that time he lectured nationally on Africa, foreign policy, international development, and U.S. diplomacy, in addition to serving as a regular op-ed contributor to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper on global events. He co-authored “Kiss Your Latte Goodbye: Managing Overseas Operations,” nonfiction winner of the 2014 Paris Book Festival. Ambassador Nagy arrived in the United States in 1957 as a political refugee from Hungary; he received his B.A. from Texas Tech University and M.S.A. from George Washington University.


Bonnie Glick
Deputy Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

Bonnie Glick serves as Deputy Administrator of the US Agency for International Development. Ms. Glick was most recently the Deputy Secretary of the Maryland State Department of Aging, where she was appointed by Governor Larry Hogan. Before joining the Hogan Administration, she worked in the non-profit world as a Senior Vice President at Meridian International Center. Prior to that, she worked for IBM in a variety of positions, which ranged from Account Executive in the Global Business Services Division to Business Development Executive in IBM’s Research Division. Ms. Glick began her career as a Foreign Service Officer in the Department of State, where she served tours of duty at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations during Operation Desert Shield; at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and at the U.S. Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua. From Nicaragua, she returned to Washington, D.C., to serve on the staff of the Secretary of State’s Operations Center, followed by two years as a Senior Officer in the White House Situation Room, and then in the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Ms. Glick holds a B.A. in Government/International Relations from Cornell University, an M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University, and an M.B.A. from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. She speaks Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Amharic, French, and Russian.


Caroline Casagrande
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

Caroline Casagrande is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The programs supported by her office include: Fulbright Scholarships, Humphrey Fellowships, Gilman Scholarships, overseas American Spaces, undergraduate exchanges, teacher exchanges, the promotion of U.S. higher education overseas and study abroad for Americans, and English and foreign language study programs. Previously, Ms. Casagrande served as the Special Advisor to ECA Assistant Secretary Marie Royce, providing senior-level advice on the formulation of public diplomacy programming to support the National Security Strategy. She has led new initiatives on a broad range of educational and cultural exchange programming to support global women’s economic empowerment, religious freedom, and countering state-sponsored disinformation. A life-long public servant, Ms. Casagrande served in the New Jersey General Assembly representing the 11th and 12th Legislative Districts from 2008 to 2016, rising to Deputy Republican Leader. She is the youngest woman assembly member ever elected in New Jersey, and a member of the first all-female delegation to represent a New Jersey Legislative District. Prior to serving in the New Jersey Assembly, she was a partner in the law firm of Menna, Supko & Casagrande in Shrewsbury, NJ. She has served as township attorney and special counsel for municipalities throughout New Jersey. Ms. Casagrande served as Director of the Young Women’s Leadership Institute from 2010-2016, which she developed to expose high school seniors to careers in public service. She has been an honorary fellow of Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics since 2015. She is an exchange alumna, having participated both as an American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) delegate to Nepal in 2010 and as an ACYPL fellowship recipient at the East-West Center in 2015 from where she traveled to India as part of a delegation of young parliamentarians. A New Jersey native, Ms. Casagrande holds a J.D. from Rutgers School of Law – Camden and a B.S. in Political Science from Pennsylvania State University. While in college, Ms. Casagrande interned in the new democratic government of South Africa.


Kay Coles James
President of The Heritage Foundation

Mrs. Kay Coles James has an extensive background in crafting public policy and leading in nearly every sector of America’s economy. She has worked at the local, state, and federal levels of government in the administrations of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush (1989-1993), former Virginia Governor George Allen (1994-1996), and former U.S. President George W. Bush (2001-2005), and she has also served dozens of organizations in the corporate, and nonprofit arenas. Mrs. James has a passion for serving the youth of America and has substantial experience in the field of education. Mrs. James served as Dean of the Robertson School of Government at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia from 1996 to 1999. Regent University is a Christian liberal arts school with a combined online and in-person enrollment of approximately 8,900 students. During her time as Dean, Mrs. James led the SACS accreditation initiative for the school of government. Mrs. James also served on the Virginia Commonwealth University, Board of Visitors from 2010 to 2014. During her time on the board, she chaired the Academic and Health Affairs Committee. This committee provided oversight and made recommendations to the full board on all policies and plans regarding; strategic enrollment management, academic quality, student issues, faculty issues, athletics and research consistent with the stated goals and objectives of the university. Additionally, the committee provided oversight to the VCU Academic Health Center including its affiliation with the VCU Health System Authority. She and her fellow board members led the effort to fulfill the University President’s goal of making VCU a leading research institution in Virginia. Mrs. James’s commitment to providing quality education goes beyond just intuitions of higher education; she crafted education policy during her time on the Virginia State Board of Education and the Fairfax County School Board. She also served as Director of Community Education and Development for Housing Opportunities Made Equal in Richmond, VA. Today, Mrs. James is the President of The Heritage Foundation, America’s premier conservative think tank. The Heritage Foundation is dedicated to formulating and promoting conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. Mrs. James has also been a trustee of The Heritage Foundation for 12 years. Mrs. James is also the founder of The Gloucester Institute, an organization which trains and nurtures college-aged leaders in the African American community. The Gloucester Institute is committed to providing an intellectually safe environment where ideas can be discussed and transformed into practical solutions that produce results. Mrs. James has also served as a Senior Fellow and Director of The Citizenship Project at the Heritage Foundation, the Senior Vice President of the Family Research Council, and as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for One to One Partnership. Kay C. James is a former board member of, PNC Financial Services Group, the National Board of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the Magellan Health Services Board and Amerigroup Corporation. Mrs. James is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and has done continuing board education at The Harvard School of Business. Mrs. James has far-reaching experience and respect in the public sector. Under President George H. W. Bush, she served as Associate Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Following her time in the Bush administration, Mrs. James was appointed as Secretary of Health and Human Resources under former Virginia Governor George Allen. In this role Mrs. James designed and implemented Virginia’s landmark welfare reform initiative, affecting fourteen state agencies and over 19,000 employees. As Secretary, Mrs. James also influenced housing policies regarding the youth, elderly, and low-income. In 2001, Mrs. James was appointed as Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) by President George W. Bush and led a department of 3,600 employees. As director, she served as the President’s principal advisor in matters of personnel administration for the 1.8 million members of the federal civil service and was responsible for the stewardship of over 650 billion dollars in federal employee’s assets. In this position, Mrs. James designed the process and system through which nearly 170,000 employees from 22 different agencies merged into the new Department of Homeland Security. During this time, she also chaired the Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) Council, was a member of the President’s Management Council and was appointed by President Bush to serve on the White House Fellows Commission. During her nearly 30-year career, Kay James has served on numerous boards and commissions including the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, Virginia Empowerment Commission, National Commission on Children, Medicaid Commission, Carter–Baker Commission on Election Reform, NASA Advisory Council, Fairfax County School Board, Virginia State Board of Education, Focus on the Family Board of Directors, Young Life Board of Directors, National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army, and Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors.
A graduate of Hampton University, James is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees including a Doctor of Laws from Pepperdine University, the University of Virginia’s Publius Award for Public Service, and the Spirit of Democracy Award for Public Policy Leadership from the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. As a commentator and lecturer, she has appeared on network morning shows and several national news and talk programs. She is the author of three books: her award-winning autobiography Never Forget (1993); Transforming America from the Inside Out (1995); and What I Wish I’d Known Before I Got Married (2001). Most important, Kay James is the wife of Charles James, Sr., and the proud mother of three grown children and five grandchildren.


William Kamkwamba
Malawian Innovator, Engineer and Author

William Kamkwamba was born August 5, 1987 in Dowa, Malawi, and grew up on his family farm in Masitala Village, Wimbe, two and half hours northeast of Malawi’s capital city. The second eldest of Trywell and Agnes Kamkwamba’s seven children, William has six sisters, Annie, Dorris, Rose, Aisha, Mayless, and Tiyamike. William was educated at Wimbe Primary School, completing 8th grade and was then accepted to Kachokolo secondary school. Due to severe famine in 2001, his family lacked the funds to pay the $80 in annual school fees and William was forced to drop out of school a few months into his freshman year. For five years he was unable to go to school. Starting at 14, rather than accept his fate, William started borrowing books from a small community lending library located at his former primary school. He borrowed an 8th grade American textbook, Using Energy, which depicted wind turbines on its cover. He decided to build a windmill to power his family’s home and obviate the need for kerosene, which provided only smoky, flickering, distant and expensive light after dark. First he built a prototype using a radio motor, then his initial 5-meter windmill out of a broken bicycle, tractor fan blade, old shock absorber, and blue gum trees. After hooking the windmill to a car battery for storage, William was able to power four light bulbs and charge neighbors’ mobile phones. This system was even equipped with homemade light switches and a circuit breaker made from nails, wire, and magnets. The windmill was later extended to 12 meters to better catch the wind above the trees. A third windmill pumped grey water for irrigation. Subsequent projects have included clean water, malaria prevention, solar power and lighting for the six homes in his family compound; a deep water well with a solar powered pump for clean water, a drip irrigation system, and the outfitting of the village team Wimbe United with their first ever uniforms and shoes. Since receiving their sun and wind-themed uniforms, the team has been on a winning streak that has brought the village together with pride. The windmill project drew many visitors from kilometers around, including Dr. Hartford Mchazime, Ph.D., the deputy director of the MTTA, the Malawian NGO responsible for the community library. Mchazime brought press, including The Malawi Daily Times, who wrote a long story. Soyapi Mumba and Mike McKay, engineers at Baobab Health Partnership in Malawi blogged about the article, and news of William’s inventions reached Emeka Okafor, program director for TEDGlobal, a prestigious gathering of thinkers and innovators. Okafor searched quite diligently to find William and invite him to the conference as a fellow. William’s presentation led to additional mentors, donors, and companies supporting his education and further projects. William graduated from Dartmouth College in 2014 and started his tenure at Ideo.org as a Global Fellow. William’s time at Ideo focused on Human Centered Design and sent him around the world working on projects ranging from sanitation in India to gender-based violence prevention in Kenya. He is now working with WiderNet to develop appropriate technology curriculum that will allow people to bridge the gap between “knowing” and “doing”. WiderNet will distribute the content through eGranaries around Malawi and across the continent.


Policy Briefings Speakers


Cheryl L. Anderson
Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development

Cheryl Anderson is the Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa. Before joining the Africa Bureau, she served as the Mission Director for USAID/Southern Africa from August 2013, and prior to that, she was Mission Director in Ghana and the East Africa Regional Mission. Ms. Anderson has over 20 years of development experience, mostly in Africa. Her experience in Africa began in Ghana as a Peace Corps volunteer. Since joining USAID as a Foreign Service Officer in 1988, she has worked in USAID missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Sudan, and East Africa. She served as the deputy director in the East Asia Office in USAID headquarters in Washington DC. Before her career at USAID, she worked as a program manager for Healthlink Worldwide, a UK-based non-governmental organization. Ms. Anderson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, and a Master’s of Science in International Development Management from American University in Washington, DC.


Whitney Young Baird
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for West Africa and Security Affairs, Bureau of African Affairs

Whitney Baird assumed duties as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for West Africa and Security Affairs in September 2018. Previously she served as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Europe and European Union and Regional Affairs in the European Bureau. She was Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in London from 2014-2017. Prior to London Whitney Baird served in the Economic Bureau of the Department of State as Special Advisor for Trade Negotiations, Director for Multilateral Trade Affairs, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade, and Acting Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs. Ms. Baird has also served overseas in Madrid, Spain; Dakar, Senegal; Lomé, Togo; Toronto, Canada; and Yaoundé, Cameroon. She has served in Washington as Deputy Director of the State Department Operations Center, Senior Watch Officer, Secretariat Staff Officer and Watch Officer. Ms. Baird graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in Political Science. She earned a Masters in International Security Studies from the National War College.


Deborah L. Birx
M.D., Ambassador-at-Large, PEPFAR

Ambassador-at-Large, Deborah L. Birx, M.D., is the Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. Ambassador Birx is a world-renowned medical expert and leader in the field of HIV/AIDS. Her three-decade-long career has focused on HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health. As the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Birx oversees the implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history, as well as all U.S. Government engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Serving as the U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, she aligns the U.S. Government’s diplomacy with foreign assistance programs that address global health challenges and accelerate progress toward: achieving an AIDS-free generation; ending preventable child and maternal deaths; and preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats. In 1985, Ambassador Birx began her career with the Department of Defense (DoD) as a military-trained clinician in immunology, focusing on HIV/AIDS vaccine research. From 1985-1989, she served as an Assistant Chief of the Hospital Immunology Service at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Through her professionalism and leadership in the field, she progressed to serve as the Director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research from 1996-2005. Ambassador Birx helped lead one of the most influential HIV vaccine trials in history (known as RV 144 or the Thai trial), which provided the first supporting evidence of any vaccine’s potential effectiveness in preventing HIV infection. During this time, she also rose to the rank of Colonel, bringing together the Navy, Army, and Air Force in a new model of cooperation – increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the U.S. Military’s HIV/AIDS efforts through inter- and intra-agency collaboration. Then known as Colonel Birx, she was awarded two prestigious U.S. Meritorious Service Medals and the Legion of Merit Award for her groundbreaking research, leadership, and management skills during her tenure at DOD. From 2005-2014, Ambassador Birx served successfully as the Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA), which is part of the agency’s Center for Global Health. As DGHA Director, she utilized her leadership ability, superior technical skills, and infectious passion to achieve tremendous public health impact. She successfully led the implementation of CDC’s PEPFAR programs around the world and managed an annual budget of more than $1.5 billion. Ambassador Birx was responsible for all of the agency’s global HIV/AIDS activities, including providing oversight to more than 400 staff at headquarters, over 1,500 staff in the field, and more than 45 country and regional offices in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, and Latin America. Recognized for her distinguished and dedicated commitment to building local capacity and strengthening quality laboratory health services and systems in Africa, in 2011, Ambassador Birx received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the African Society for Laboratory Medicine. In 2014, CDC honored her leadership in advancing the agency’s HIV/AIDS response with the highly prestigious William C. Watson, Jr. Medal of Excellence. Ambassador Birx has published over 220 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, authored nearly a dozen chapters in scientific publications, as well as developed and patented vaccines. She received her medical degree from the Hershey School of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, and beginning in 1980 she trained in internal medicine and basic and clinical immunology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health. Ambassador Birx is board certified in internal medicine, allergy and immunology, and diagnostic and clinical laboratory immunology.


Ramsey Day
Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development

Ramsey Day serves as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Africa Bureau. Prior to joining USAID in January 2018, Mr. Day was the Senior Director for the Center for Global Impact at the International Republican Institute (IRI) where he led the Institute’s project design, strategic planning, and monitoring and evaluation efforts. He also worked in Amman, Jordan as the IRI Country Director from 2014 to 2017 leading programs in public opinion research, good governance, and political party building. Mr. Day has held numerous positions within the international development and foreign policy communities both in the United States and various overseas posts. He served as the Country Representative for USAID in Montenegro and at the USAID headquarters in Washington within the Legislative and Public Affairs Bureau (LPA) as the Chief of Public Liaison where he led the Agency’s public outreach efforts. He was also the Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor for the USAID Europe and Eurasia Bureau advising the Assistant Administrator and other senior officials on development policy, strategic communications, and legislative issues. Mr. Day has worked on several national domestic campaigns and has represented the White House on official delegations of the President and the Vice President of the United States to over 20 countries. Prior to government service, he worked in marketing for multi-media companies in both Atlanta, Georgia and New York. Mr. Day holds a B.A. from the University of Mississippi and a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) focusing on International/Global Affairs from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


Darius Edgerton
Deputy Spokesperson, Bureau of African Affairs

Darius Edgerton is currently serving as the Deputy Spokesperson for the Bureau of African Affairs. He joined the U.S. Department of State in 2012, where some of his previous assignments include the Nigeria Desk, the Office of the Secretary of State, and the Office of the Under Secretary for Management. Darius received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Hampton University and a Master’s in Public Administration from American University.


Elizabeth Fitzsimmons
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Africa and Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

Elizabeth Fitzsimmons, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister Counselor, has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State since October 1, 2018. She was previously the Acting Deputy Spokesperson for the Department from March to August 2018. Prior assignments include Deputy Executive Secretary to Secretaries Kerry and Tillerson from May 2016 to October 2017, Senior Advisor at the Foreign Service Institute from October 2017 to March 2018, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs and the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan from August 2015 until May 2016. She joined the Department in 1995, and at the time of her swearing in was the youngest member of the Foreign Service. She has served overseas in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Cambodia, India, and Bulgaria. Domestically, she has worked in the State Department Operations Center as a Senior Watch Officer, and as Deputy Director of the State Department’s Executive Secretariat. Elizabeth holds a BA from the University of Virginia in East Asian studies and a certificate from the International Division at Waseda University in Tokyo. She speaks French, Mandarin Chinese, and Bulgarian. In 2009, she was named a Fellow by the International Women’s Forum, one of only 25 women in the world to be so honored.


Matthew T. Harrington
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southern Africa and Economic & Regional Affairs

Ambassador Matthew T. Harrington, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State since September 4, 2018. He previously served as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southern Africa and Public Diplomacy/Public Affairs since January 8, 2018. He has spent much of his diplomatic career in Africa or working on African issues. He served as Ambassador to Lesotho from 2014-2017 and, before that, as Director of the Office of Analysis for Africa in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He spent two tours as a Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Namibia and Togo, and also worked as a Political Officer in Harare, Zimbabwe, as Sudan Desk Officer in the Bureau of African Affairs, and as a Consular Officer in Accra, Ghana. In addition, Ambassador Harrington also completed assignments as Counselor for Political-Economic Affairs in Lisbon, Portugal, as a Watch Officer in the Department of State’s Operations Center, and as a Political Officer in Brasilia, Brazil. Prior to Joining the Foreign Service in 1991, Harrington served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zouerate, Mauritania. He earned a B.A. in history from Washington and Lee University.


Makila James
Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Africa and The Sudans

Makila James, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Africa and The Sudans since September 17, 2018. Prior to taking up these responsibilities, she was on the Faculty of the National War College and served as the Director of the International Student Management Office at the National Defense University (NDU) (2016-2018). She was the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Swaziland (now the Kingdom of Eswatini) from 2012 until December 2015. Ms. James has also held a variety of positions in Washington and overseas, including as the Director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs (2010-2012), Deputy Director of the Office of Southern African Affairs (2007-2009), and Principal Officer of the Consulate General in Juba, Southern Sudan (2006-2007). Previously, Ms. James was a member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff and was a research fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. She also served as an International Relations Officer in the Office of International Organization Affairs, Desk Officer in the Office of West African Affairs, and as a Watch Officer in the Department’s Operations Center. Her overseas assignments have included postings as Political Officer in Zimbabwe, Political/Economics Officer in Nigeria, and Consular Officer in Jamaica. Born in New York City, Ms. James received a B.A. from Cornell University, a J.D. from Columbia Law School, and a Masters in National Security Studies from NDU.


Tracy Roberts-Pounds
Director for the Office of Security Affairs, Bureau of African Affairs

Tracy Roberts-Pounds leads the Office of Security Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs. A career Public Diplomacy Officer, she most recently served as the Director of International Media Engagement in the Bureau of Public Affairs and oversaw the Department’s six regional media hubs and its in-language spokespeople. Prior to a one-year posting with the Foreign Service Board of Examiners, she spent the previous decade living and working in the Middle East. She served for three years as the Foreign Policy Adviser to the Commander of U.S. Naval Operations Central Command and Commander of the Fifth Fleet, based in Manama, Bahrain. Prior to that assignment, she was the Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. Tracy has also served as the Public Affairs Officer in Syria; Yemen/Oman Desk Officer; NEA Public Diplomacy Officer; and a Special Assistant in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs. Her first tour in the Foreign Service was as a Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. She is married to a fellow Foreign Service Officer, Timothy Pounds, and is the mother of Samuel (13), Audrey (10), and James (7) – three reasonably well-behaved children. She speaks Arabic and Spanish.


Irfan Saeed
Director for the Office of Countering Violent Extremism, Bureau of Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State

Mr. Saeed manages an office that leads strategy and policy formulation for the United States’ international CVE efforts. Previously, Mr. Saeed served as the Director of the Community Engagement Office in the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State, Mr. Saeed was a Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, where he developed and coordinated activities relating to countering violent extremism. Prior to joining Homeland Security, Mr. Saeed worked as a criminal prosecutor, at the state and federal levels. Mr. Saeed worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in the Eastern District of Louisiana, as well as an Assistant District Attorney in New Orleans, LA. He has also served as the Resident Legal Advisor at U.S. Embassies in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.


Margot Shorey
Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Program Manager, Africa Bureau Office of Security Affairs

Margot Shorey is the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Program Manager for the Department of State Africa Bureau Office of Security Affairs through Raventek Solutions Partners. In this role, she manages a $14 million annual portfolio of CVE programs across East and West Africa. Previously she served as the Africa Bureau’s Counter Boko Haram Policy analyst and successfully led the development of the U.S. government strategy to counter Boko Haram, one of the world’s deadliest terrorist groups. Margot built and fostered a strong community of practice that exemplifies best practices of coordination across government agencies and with external partners, and quickly became known as a focal point to connect colleagues and resolve policy and programming issues. She has prior experience working for the Department of Defense and on USAID programming in Africa. Margot has a BA from Northwestern University and an MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She is fluent in French.


Plenary Speakers and Moderators


Mawien Arik
2019 Mandela Washington Fellow, Boise State University

Mawien Arik is a medical doctor and the founder of Akougook Initiative, an organization founded in 2016 that provides health-related projects to South Sudanese living in the refugee camps and settlements in northern Uganda. In addition to organizing medical outreach and campaigns to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis among the refugees, Mawien also facilitates peace-building training on prejudice awareness and peaceful means of conflict resolution. Mawien studied Medicine and Surgery from Makerere University in Uganda. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Mawien plans to continue his work in areas of peacebuilding and health in his home area of Tonj State. His goal is to bridge the gap that exists in health care delivery between different ethnic groups in South Sudan by establishing a women’s and children’s hospital.


Sharleen Awuor Oduor
2019 Mandela Washington Fellow, Rutgers University

Sharleen Awuor Oduor is a young lawyer equipped with seven years of experience in community development, specifically in the health and education sectors. Currently, Sharleen works at the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) under the Research, Advocacy and Outreach Directorate. KNCHR is an independent national human rights institution and the state’s lead agency in the promotion and protection of human rights. Sharleen also serves as project coordinator of Girls Leading Our World Initiative (iGLOW), where she has mentored over 3,000 rural girls on education, leadership, and health matters. iGLOW is a non-profit organization that aims to promote development by eliminating barriers to rural girls’ education in Kenya. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Sharleen plans to continue working towards community development and advocating for the importance of human rights, especially access to education and proper healthcare in the marginalized rural areas of Kenya for girls, women, youth, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.


Game Bantsi
2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, Botswana

Game Bantsi (‘Zeus’) is an independent hip-hop recording artist, MC, and businessman. He has over ten years of experience performing and recording through major labels, such as Universal Music South Africa. His debut 2008 album, Freshly Baked, garnered him a Channel O Music Video Award nomination and win in the Best Hip-Hop video. In 2010, he was ranked seventh in a list of the Top 15 South African Rappers and 4th on MNET’s Top 10 African Rappers for 2010 compilation. Game is the Founder of DIY Entertainment, through which he offers unique entertainment solutions to corporate entities. Through his DIY Entertainment organization, he also runs a youth leadership development and behavioral change program titled “I am”. This and other community-driven advocacy efforts caused Game to be selected as Botswana’s representative for the United Nation Population Fund SADC Region youth sexual reproductive campaign from 2014 – 2016. In addition to his music and business initiatives, Game’s academic qualifications include an undergraduate degree in Business and Commerce, and an honors bachelor’s degree in Motion Picture, Film, and TV. He continues to leverage his academic background to expand the catalog of creative products that the Botswanan and African creative industries offer, and to tap into wider global markets.


Alieu Jaiteh
2015 Mandela Washington Fellow, Gambia

Alieu Jaiteh has over ten years of experience working with blind and partially sighted people in The Gambia. He is the Founder of Start Now, an organization with the mission to train and empower blind and partially sighted high school graduates with computer skills to prepare them for opportunities in higher education and employment. Through his organization, Alieu was able to establish the first-ever center for technology and rehabilitation for the visually impaired in The Gambia. Alieu also works as a teacher at the School for the Blind, where he teaches keyboarding to blind children. In 2018, he was awarded the Holman Prize for Blind Ambition, a $25,000 award supporting the empowerment of blind and low vision people worldwide. With it, Alieu will create a network of blind mentors in The Gambia. Alieu holds an Advanced Diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies from the Management Development Institute and Higher Teacher’s Certificate from The Gambia College, specializing in General and Agricultural Science. He currently serves as the President of the International Visitors Leadership Program Alumni Association of The Gambia, a body comprised of U.S. Government Exchange Alumni, including Mandela Washington Fellows.


Adepeju Jaiyeoba
2014 Mandela Washington Fellow, Nigeria

Adepeju Jaiyeoba is a skilled community advocate with experience in women’s rights and maternal and child health in Nigeria. She is the Founder and CEO of Mother’s Delivery Kit, an organization that manufactures and distributes affordable birthing supply kits to expectant mothers in rural communities to improve maternal and child health. Under her leadership, the organization has positively impacted more than 500,000 women in over 346 communities. In addition to providing birthing kits, Adepeju’s organization also trains birth attendants and provides opportunities for them to work at hospitals and health care centers across Nigeria. Adepeju has received several noteworthy recognitions for her work, including winning Unilever’s 2018 Young Entrepreneurs Award and designations as a White House Emerging Global Entrepreneur and Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur. In addition to her work in the health field, Adepeju was trained as a lawyer at Obafemi Awolowo University.


Laura Lane
President, Global Public Affairs, UPS

Laura Lane serves as President of Global Public Affairs for UPS, where she is responsible for all worldwide government affairs activities for UPS. Prior to joining UPS, Laura was Managing Director and Head of International Government Affairs at Citigroup and Vice President for Global Public Policy with Time Warner. In her government career, Ms. Lane served in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and was involved in the negotiations on China’s entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the WTO Financial Services Agreement and the WTO Basic Telecommunications Agreement. Before joining USTR, Ms. Lane was a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service from 1990-1997, including serving at the American Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda from 1993-1994. She led the evacuation effort of American citizens in April 1994 with the outbreak of civil war and returned as political advisor to U.S. forces providing humanitarian relief to Rwandan refugees in the aftermath of the genocide. She shared her perspectives on the Rwandan genocide in her TED Talk “When to Follow your Heart and Write your own Rules” and in the PBS/Frontline documentary “Ghosts of Rwanda.” Ms. Lane also served as consular officer in Bogota, Colombia from 1990-1992. Ms. Lane served as the Vice Chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA) during the 2016-2018 term. Ms. Lane is also Vice Chairman of the German-American Business Council, and a Member of the Boards of the Atlantic Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Girl Scouts of the National Capitol Region, and UNHCR-USA. Ms. Lane holds a BA from Loyola University and a Master’s Degree in Foreign Service with a Certificate in International Business Diplomacy from Georgetown University. She and her husband have two daughters.


Jack Leslie
Chairman, Weber Shandwick

Jack Leslie is Chairman of Weber Shandwick, a leading communications firm with more than 80 offices around the world. He has a long history as strategic counselor to corporate, government and philanthropic leaders faced with difficult communications challenges. Mr. Leslie was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2003 to serve on the Board of Directors of the U.S. African Development Foundation, an independent U.S. government agency that impacts the lives of millions of Africans in underserved communities. He was named Chairman of the USADF Board by President Barack Obama in 2009, and was re-confirmed for the position by the U.S. Senate in 2016. Under Mr. Leslie’s leadership, USADF has expanded its operations into more conflict and post-conflict areas in the greater Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and the Great Lakes region. Additionally, Mr. Leslie championed USADF’s transformational investments in Africa’s greatest resource, her young people. In collaboration with the U.S. government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), USADF has provided approximately $5 million in catalytic seed capital to over 200 young African social entrepreneurs. Foreign assistance to Africa is an investment for peace and security today and prosperous U.S. trading partners tomorrow. Mr. Leslie was also appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa in 2016. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member and former Chairman of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid, on the board of Advisors of the Duke Global Health Institute and the Ron Brown Scholar Program. He is also Chairman of the board of directors for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics AIDS Foundation, a board member of Water.org, a trustee of the Circumnavigators Foundation, and former Chairman of the Board of USA for UNHCR (the UN refugee agency). Jack began his career as an aide to Senator Edward Kennedy, serving as his political director and as Executive Director of the Fund for a Democratic Majority. He joined Sawyer Miller Group, a prominent political consulting firm, in 1983 and became president of the company in 1985. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, Jack provided political counsel to dozens of presidential and statewide campaigns in the United States, Latin America, Asia and Africa. Jack is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.


Chola Chilufya Lungu
2014 Mandela Washington Fellow, Zambia

Chola Lungu is an independent communications consultant and social entrepreneur. She is a creative, enterprising, and versatile individual who combines her imaginative and artistic abilities with an organized and multicultural approach. Chola holds a bachelor’s degree in Politics and Sociology from Rhodes University in South Africa and a Certificate in Diplomatic Practice, Protocol, and Public Relations from the Zambia Institute of International Studies. Chola has experience managing stakeholder relations, leading community events, and providing executive and diplomatic support. She has designed communication strategies for telecom companies, non- governmental organizations, private sector companies, and a government ministry. Chola also runs cultural awareness courses for Peace Corps volunteers and non-Zambian expats and has authored several educational resources to help teach Zambian local languages. A true renaissance woman, Chola also owns the brand Poleka, which uses fashion and design to communicate, inspire, and motivate youth.


Marcia Motsa
2019 Mandela Washington Fellow, Texas Tech University

Marcia Motsa is currently making her contributions in the public health sector as a human resources and administration practitioner and entry-level manager. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science with majors in Economics and Public Administration. She currently works at the University Research Company (URC), a global public health professional organization in Eswatini which works with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to provide technical assistance for scaling up provision and access to comprehensive, integrated, and decentralized HIV and tuberculosis services through PEPFAR and the Center for Disease Control. Marcia is responsible for providing resources and administrative support to over 100 field volunteers providing health services, treatment support, retention, and care services. She has always been passionate about working with people, and working in human resources has enabled her to serve her community through local recruitment. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Marcia plans to share her skills through the Junior Achievement mentorship program, a school-age entrepreneurship program which focuses on youth economic empowerment.


Flavia Kalule Nabagabe
2017 Mandela Washington Fellow, Uganda

Flavia Nabagabe is a teacher, activist, politician, motivational speaker, and trainer. She has over ten years of experience in community advocacy and social work in fields such as education and women’s rights. She believes that women’s concerns are development issues and, if neglected, can be a huge setback to economic empowerment for any nation. For the past six years, Flavia has worked with the Forum for Women in Democracy, a national women’s rights organization in Uganda. Her work includes analyzing and developing gender policies, laws and budgets, training women legislators, Members of Parliament, and Local Government Councilors in effective legislative engagement, designing, and implementing community empowerment programs. Flavia ran for Women’s Representative in Parliament for the Mubende District constituency, Uganda in 2016, emerging second in a four-way race and is currently running for Women’s Representative in Parliament for Kassanda District Constituency, Uganda. In addition to her political engagement, Flavia is currently pursuing a master’s degree from Makerere University.


Jean-Claude Pongault Elongo
2019 Mandela Washington Fellow, Drexel University

Jean-Claude Pongault Elongo has seven years of experience researching trade between the U.S. and Africa and serving as an advocate for the LGBTI community working toward the prevention of HIV. Jean-Claude is the Executive Director of the Cœur Arc-en-ciel association and traveled to Geneva in 2018 to meet with the Human Rights Council on the United Nations as part of the pre-session of the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of Congo, and present on the issues impacting the LGBTI community in his country. He has a master’s degree in Law from Protestant University in the Congo and has experience advocating for human rights, prevention of HIV, agricultural development, and supporting small businesses. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Jean-Claude plans to train others on principles of effective activism and serve as a bridge between the Congolese and American LGBTI communities.


Graca Sanches
2015 Mandela Washington Fellow, Cabo Verde

Graça Sanches became a parliamentarian at the age of 30. When she was elected in 2011, she was one of the youngest Members of Parliament in Cape Verde. While in Parliament, Graça served as the Deputy to the National Assembly, Secretary of the Specialized Committee for Education, Youth, Culture, and Sports, and as President of the Network of Women Parliamentarians of Cape Verde. Graça has been a successful advocate for women’s rights and youth empowerment, having received numerous recognitions for her work, including being named one of Africa’s 100 Most Influential Personalities in 2018 by OkayAfrica and winning the 2016 Pan-African Humanitarian Award for Gender Equality and Advocacy. In 2018, Graça completed a training in gender auditing and equality plans at the School of Economics and Management in Lisbon, Portugal. She continues her work in gender equality through her current role as a Junior Expert on gender and legislative oversight at for the Pro PALOP-TL SAI project, which promotes economic governance in Portuguese speaking countries to strengthen the technical and functional competencies of Parliaments and civil society.


Lisa Schroeter
Dow, Global Director, Trade and Investment Policy

Lisa Schroeter is the Global Director of Trade and Investment Policy for Dow. As part of the corporate Global Government Affairs team, Lisa’s responsibilities focus on trade policy and regulations, trade negotiations, and investment issues that foster growth in Dow’s global businesses through identification of policies facilitating market access and reducing global distribution costs. Her role has direct responsibility for developing the company’s global trade strategy, driving impact assessments and response to emerging trade issues and facilitating government affairs strategies aligned with Dow’s investment priorities. Lisa manages the company’s outreach to key trade-related entities in the U.S. administration, the Washington D.C. embassy community, and across key governments. Before joining Dow, Lisa was the Executive Director of the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue (TABD). TABD is a unique trade-facilitation process by which American and European CEOs work with the U.S. administration and the European Commission to implement practical, detailed recommendations. Ms. Schroeter joined TABD in 1999, and managed the process on behalf of the Boeing Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, United Technologies Corporation, and Xerox. Lisa served as the 2018-2019 President of Women in International Trade (WIIT), and is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a Board Member of the Washington International Trade Association, and a Board Member of the D.C.-based non-profit Cultural Tourism DC. She also serves as the Chair of the ICCA Trade Network and Global Regulatory Cooperation task forces as well as the U.S. Business Committee of the Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN).


Maxwell Simba
Actor, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”

Maxwell Simba from Nairobi, Kenya was 15 when he shot “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” his debut performance (he will turn 17 in October 2019). Maxwell studied hard to pass his primary school exams to qualify for a sponsored place at Alliance High School, Nairobi ‐ the highest ranking government school in Kenya. He has been in the top 50 out of 1600 pupils in the three years he has attended. His ambition is to win a scholarship to study electrical engineering, at Harvard or MIT in the US.


Vital Sounouvou
2014 Mandela Washington Fellow, Benin

Vital Sounouvou is an entrepreneur and the founder of Exportunity.net, an exclusive virtual market that organizes and manages the B2C and B2B trade in Africa. He serves as a facilitator between investors and African entities and is engaged in promoting foreign direct investment opportunities for sub-Saharan African countries. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications and Software Engineering from the UIT de Calais in France, and a business certificate from the University of Texas at Austin. Listed on Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30 list of 2016, his professional life spans from managing Africa relations at the annual Investment Meeting of the United Arab Emirates government, to contributing to the Corporate Council on Africa in Washington D.C. and at Microsoft’s Johannesburg offices. Vital is affiliated with the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program, Ashoka, Techstars, World Bank’s Africa XL accelerator, and Stanford’s Seed initiative. Vital is a member of numerous leadership networks including the youth advisory group of the World Bank’s Solution for Youth Employment and the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s Global Youth Innovation Network.


Sinethemba Thwala
2019 Mandela Washington Fellow, Virginia Tech

Sinethemba Thwala has been in the community journalism field for over five years, specializing in stories and topics that set out to investigate community issues and how they can be improved. At present, Sinethemba is a co-director of a non-profit organization called Ikusasalethu Better Days Ahead. The organization focuses on youth development, conducts skills training programs for unemployed young people, and ensures food security through teaching minor farming skills to impoverished communities. Sinethemba is also the co-founder of the Treasures of Hope Foundation, an organization that brings hope to children from underprivileged homes by holding clothing and book drives to provide school clothes, uniforms, and books for children in townships. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Sinethemba hopes to return to her community equipped with a better understanding of the needs of people as a writer, but also with skills that she can use for projects to improve issues like poverty and unemployment within her community.


Annette Whatley
UT Institute – Administrative Director, The University of Texas at Austin

Annette Whatley has been working on the Mandela Washington Fellowship at The University of Texas at Austin since 2014, its inaugural year. She has been a key team member in establishing and building relationships with UT and Austin’s entrepreneurial community, designing the program with intentional purpose, and running on-the-ground logistics during the institute. She is committed to fostering and maintaining connections with the alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship. In June 2019, Annette participated in the Fulbright International Education Administrators Seminar to Japan. During the intensive seminar, Annette had the opportunity to learn about Japan’s education system, visit universities and colleges, and tour historical and cultural sites. Annette became passionate about international education after studying abroad in Austria. She has worked at UT’s International Office since 2006 and coordinated numerous special programs, including the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Pan Africa Youth Leadership Program, Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative, Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, in addition to several other grant and customized programs. Annette is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with Bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and English. She has international work experience in England and Ireland, and has enjoyed traveling extensively around the world!


Rosa Whitaker
President and CEO of The Whitaker Group

In 1997, Rosa was appointed by President William J. Clinton to serve as the first ever Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa and continued in this position under President George W. Bush, thereby reflecting the bipartisan consensus Rosa helped build on US-Africa policy. Rosa Whitaker is currently President and CEO of The Whitaker Group (TWG), a leading transaction advisory and project development firm she founded in 2003.  Since its inception, TWG has been the firm of choice for global brands investing and expanding market share in Africa in ways that achieve both commercial and human dividends.   With offices in Washington, DC and Accra, The Whitaker Group has helped to deliver several billion dollars in projects and investments in Africa, and now makes its own direct investments in African companies. Offering forward-thinking projects, such as the “We Build You Grow” infrastructure initiative, TWG is known for innovative and sustainable solutions that create economic prosperity while promoting social equity and environmental stewardship. Rosa has received numerous honors, including being named one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers.  She is regularly quoted in the media on Africa trade issues and has lectured at several universities. Rosa holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the American University in Washington, D.C. She is married to Nicholas Duncan-Williams, the Presiding Archbishop and General Overseer of Christian Action Faith Ministries (CAFM). In 2018 Rosa accepted the position of President of Mercy Ships International (MSI).   Mercy Ships is a global faith-based charity operating the world’s largest private hospital ship bringing hope and healing to the poorest of the poor in Africa.  Since its inception in 1978, Mercy Ships has provided services valued at more than $1.3 billion and treated nearly 3 million people with volunteers from more than 40 nations.  Largely, due to the generosity of so many philanthropists and caring people around the world, Mercy Ships will soon add another hospital ship to its program which would enable the charity to reach more vulnerable people — perhaps doubling its current capacity. As President of Mercy Ships, Rosa assumes the mantle from the organization’s visionary and founder, Donald K. Stephens, who now serves as President-Emeritus.  She previously served as Vice Chair of the MSI Executive Board. Noting that Africa carries 80% of the global disease burden, Rosa looks forward to using her deep Christian faith and vast experience to deepening engagement with the private sector to alleviate this burden — creating a compassionate and lasting legacy for the next generation.


Angela Woods
Program Officer, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Angela Woods is a Program Officer in the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Study of the U.S. Branch. She provides programmatic oversight of the Fellowship and serves as Grant Officer Representative. Additionally, she manages the Study of the U.S. Institute for Students on Social Entrepreneurship. Prior to joining the Study of the U.S. Branch, Angela was formerly a member of ECA’s U.S. Study Abroad Branch, where she managed the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program, Capacity-Building Program for U.S. Undergraduate Study Abroad, and other study abroad initiatives. In 2017, Angela graduated from the Graduate School USA, Executive Leadership Program. Prior to joining ECA, Angela worked for seven years in various college and university settings. During a study abroad experience in college, she interned at Fulbright España in Madrid, Spain. Angela holds a B.S. in Education from Syracuse University and a M.A. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Rahama Wright
Founder and CEO, Shea Yeleen

Rahama Wright is the Founder and CEO of Shea Yeleen Health and Beauty a social impact company she created after serving in the Peace Corps. The DC-based enterprise develops shea butter creams, balms, and soaps that create living wage jobs for women in Ghana. Her entrepreneurial journey spans bootstrapping to securing her first round of venture capital investment from Ron Lauder and Dick Parsons, and landing deals with Whole Foods Markets & MGM Resorts International. The products have been featured in a variety of media outlets including O, The Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Washington Business Journal, MSNBC, and CNBC Africa.  A leading voice on African women’s economic and business development she has completed 150+ speeches and panels globally including the United Nations Thematic Debate on Entrepreneurship for Development, the U.S. Secretary of State Global Diaspora Forum, the World Bank Africa Region Growth Dialogue, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. In 2014, she was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa and is currently serving her third term on the council. Rahama received her BA in International Relations from the State University of New York at Geneseo. An avid traveler she has visited and worked in 36 countries. 


Common Leadership Curriculum Facilitators


Casey Aldrich
Top Strengths: Input, Harmony, Adaptability, Learner, Intellection

As the Student Programs Manager at the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College, Casey manages a robust portfolio of programs aimed at both domestic and international students to enhance the global dimension of their study. This work involves overseeing the Center’s International Internship program and the coordinating of a variety of on-campus educational opportunities for students to explore complex global issues and connect with practitioners, academics, and experts in the field of international affairs. She also facilitates educational sessions focused on building cross-cultural fluency for faculty, staff and students across the campus. For the past five years Casey has coordinated a fun-filled homestay weekend for Dartmouth’s Mandela Washington Fellows, and her family has enjoyed hosting Fellows in their home each summer. Casey completed her M.A. in International Education at the School for International Training (SIT Graduate Institute) in Vermont and her B.A. at UMass Amherst in Japanese Language & Literature. She has worked in the field of International Education for over fifteen years, including four years in Japan where she worked as Coordinator for International Relations at the Board of Education in Hiroshima Prefecture.  Casey is passionate about international education, which she views as key in developing individuals and future global leaders who can successfully bridge the cultural and linguistic divides within and between nations.


Thomas Candon
Top Strengths: Context, Restorative, Responsibility, Developer, Consistency

Tom Candon is the Associate Managing Director at the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth. Since joining the Dickey Center in November 2013, he has managed day-to-day operations including oversight, support, and coordination of budgeting, events, and communications. From 2014-2018, Tom also served as the Administrative Director of Dartmouth’s Mandela Washington Fellows program, managing the logistical aspects of its Business & Entrepreneurship Institutes. Prior to joining the Dickey Center, Tom was the Associate Director of the Institute for Security, Technology, and Society (ISTS) at Dartmouth, where he oversaw the identification of new funding and collaboration opportunities, outreach initiatives, student grant awards, summer programs, and conferences and events. Before ISTS, Tom spent ten years with the government contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in Washington, D.C. In his last position at SAIC, Tom was Assistant Vice President and Assistant Division Manager in the Advanced Systems & Concepts Operation. For the past seven years, Tom also has served on his town’s school board, serving as chairman for several years. Tom received his B.A. from Siena College and his M.A. from Georgetown University.


Christianne Hardy
Top Strengths: Strategic, Learner, Input, Relator, Individualization

Christianne Hardy is an educator and academic administrator, and currently[Field] serves as Special Assistant to the President of Dartmouth College. A political scientist by training, she has leveraged her scholarly work in international relations and European Union affairs to address the challenges of higher education, applying an understanding of the ways institutional variation influences political outcomes to the university context.  In her current work, Dr. Hardy manages a variety of projects across divisional and disciplinary boundaries, such as diversity, inclusivity and campus climate, professional development for scholars, and internal communications and processes. All her work touches upon the ongoing challenges faced by the university in environments of rapid technological, economic and social change. Previously, she worked at Dartmouth’s Dickey Center for International Understanding developing student, faculty and public programs, as well as managing the Center’s staff and public relations. She subsequently served for two years as Director of the Montgomery Fellows program, Dartmouth’s premier distinguished visitor program. She has taught courses on European Politics for the Government Department and on Social Science Field Research for the International Studies Minor.  Prior to her time at Dartmouth, Chris was a faculty member of the Department of Political Science at Fordham University, and has also served as Associate Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University. She holds a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Washington, where she spent a year studying at the Institute d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Politics from Princeton University.


Rick Johnson
Top Strengths: Learner, Achiever, Analytical, Competition, Ideation

Rick is the Chief Operating Officer for Voi, Inc., a behavioral healthcare company. Prior to this role, he served as the Director of Operations, Finance, and Strategy for the Population Health Collaboratory at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He also worked for Cubic Corporation as a military analyst in the U.S. Naval War College’s Wargaming Department, where he designed and directed a number of war games, developed and managed the College’s Maritime Homeland Security/Defense Planners’ Workshop, and instructed Fortune 50 Company corporate staffs on how to conduct and implement strategic and operational planning. Rick has also worked as the Associate Director of The Dartmouth Institute at Dartmouth College, served as Vermont Assistant Attorney General, and worked as an associate in a large private law firm. Rick retired in June 2015 as a Colonel in the United States Marine Corps after 34 years of service. His last position was as an Inspector General for the Department of Defense. Rick holds an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College, where he graduated with highest distinction, a J.D. from the Vermont Law School, and an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy, International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.


Edward Kim
Top Strengths: Learner, Developer, Adaptability, Maximizer, Empathy

Edward Kim is an adjunct faculty member at Champlain College in the Human Relations and Organizational Development master’s degree program, where he has taught courses about leading change and organizational development. He is the co-founder of Measured Leadership, LLC which focuses on team development, employee engagement, leadership coaching, and intercultural development. Ed has previously worked with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center as an Organizational Effectiveness Consultant on institution-wide HR programs, developing leaders and helping to create an engaging employee experience. In the summers of 2017 & 2018, he served as a peer collaborator for Mandela Washington Fellows at Dartmouth College. Ed is a qualified administrator of the IDI® (The Intercultural Development Inventory®) and a certified trainer and authorized partner for Everything DiSC®, a Wiley Brand. Prior to moving to the Vermont/New Hampshire area, Ed worked for Barclays Capital and NBC Universal in New York City as part of their respective recruitment teams. Ed received his M.A. in Social-Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and his B.S. in Sport Management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Gabrielle Luck
Top Strengths: Positivity, Strategic, Activator, Maximizer, Connectedness

Over the years in her role as a consultant, educator, and coach Gabrielle has designed and delivered leadership development programs and opportunities anchored in the utilization of CliftonStrengths®. After 20 years of service she retired from Dartmouth College in July. Her most recent position was the Senior Training & Development Consultant with Dartmouth’s Office of Human Resources. Gabrielle is now the Organizational Development Project Manager for Hypertherm Inc., a global manufacturing company, where she is taking the lead on helping Hypertherm become a CliftonStrengths®-based organization. Gabrielle’s professional life reflects her commitment to education, particularly higher education – for over 30 years, she has served colleges and universities in many roles, including as an administrator, faculty member, health educator and counselor. Gabrielle received a B.S. in Social Sciences from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and an M.S. in Counseling from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. She has also completed her doctoral course work in health education at the University of Maryland, College Park and has been certified as an early childhood educator. In Spring 2013, she received a diversity management certificate from Cornell University’s Industrial Labor Relations School, and in 2015 she received the Holly Fell Sateia Award, one of Dartmouth College’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Justice Awards which recognizes a Dartmouth faculty or staff member who is an enthusiastic and effective leader in advancing diversity and community. Gabrielle and her family live in Hartford, Vermont and were honored to be a Mandela Washington Fellowship host family last summer. Gabrielle served in the Vermont House of Representatives from 2015-2018, and has been recognized as a 2016 Council of State Governments Henry Toll Fellow. Her public service continues as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors for Second Growth and the Advisory Council for Hartford’s Dismas House, and a Board member for Vermont’s ACLU.


Vincent Mack
Top Strengths: Communication, Arranger, Input, Individualization, Strategic

Vincent is the inaugural Associate Director of Intercultural Leadership at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. In this role, Vincent develops intercultural competence and leadership programs, advises international students, and supports Tuck’s recruitment efforts in Africa. Prior to Tuck, Vincent was the Program Officer at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy. For the past five years Vincent has coordinated the weekly leadership seminars for Dartmouth’s YALI Mandela Washington Fellows. He holds an M.A. in Public Administration with a concentration in Human Resources from Valdosta State University and a B.S. in Political Science with a concentration in International Affairs from Georgia Southern University. Vincent’s experiences abroad and with others from differing cultural backgrounds continually inspire him to encourage Dartmouth students to widen their global perspective through leadership in service to others.


Amy Newcomb
Top Strengths: Strategic, Activator, Arranger, Achiever, Positivity

Amy is an international educator with expertise in educational experience design and intercultural skills development. She spearheads Dartmouth’s engagement with YALI and served as the Academic Director for the college’s Business & Entrepreneurship Institute for five years. In that role, she oversaw the interdisciplinary teaching team and ensured alignment of curricular content modules throughout the program. In 2015, Amy forged a partnership between Dartmouth and the YALI East Africa Regional Leadership Center, which resulted in a multi-year Institutional MOU; curriculum design collaborations; a robust training-of-trainers program; and several professional exchanges between Dartmouth and EA RLC staffers. Amy also serves as an advisory board member for Inspire Africa, a social enterprise founded by 2015 Fellow Cynthia Ndubuisi aimed at empowering youth leaders and budding entrepreneurs across Nigeria. To this collaboration she brings her belief in the transformative power of intercultural exchange at the root of the Fellowship and a desire to lift the leadership profile and shared experience components of the Fellowship across institutions. As a 2019 Reciprocal Exchange Awardee, Amy spent February 2019 in Uganda developing and delivering an experiential education curriculum to empower young women with 2015 Fellow Jamila Mayanja, co-founder of Smart Girls Foundation, Uganda. Amy is also the co-founder of Compacity Partners LLC, a consultancy firm specializing in education experience design and intercultural leadership training.


Next Steps Sessions Facilitators


Amelia J. Carvalho
Alumni Coordinator for the Young African Leaders Initiative, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), Office of Alumni Affairs

Ms. Amelia J. Carvalho joined the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), Office of Alumni Affairs as an Alumni Coordinator for the Young African Leaders Initiative in May 2014.
She provides support to U.S. embassies and other State Department stakeholders on follow-on initiatives that allow Mandela Washington Fellow alumni to expand on their exchange experience, strengthen the State Department’s international exchange alumni network, and give back to their communities. In February 2016, Amelia took on additional responsibilities as coordinator for the broader Africa region alumni engagement portfolio. In her expanded role she manages ECA sponsored alumni funding competitions and supports U.S. Embassies in their efforts to build and sustain alumni networks throughout Africa. Prior to joining ECA, Amelia spent six years at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) where she worked with U.S. embassies and U.S. Department of Defense alumni to organize programs that fostered dialogue among U.S., European, and African security professionals on security challenges facing Africa. Amelia holds a B.A. in International Relations and a Master’s degree in Public Administration.


Miranna Darr
Program Manager, Office of the Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

Miranna Darr is the Program Manager for the YALI Network with the U.S. Department of State. Prior to joining the State Department, Miranna was a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin where she taught English and was engaged in women and girls empowerment activities. Miranna has also worked in the international exchange field and the fundraising and development sector for nonprofit organizations. She has a love of the people, culture and food of Africa and has travelled extensively across the continent including Rwanda, Mozambique, South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Niger. Miranna is a graduate from American University with a MA in International Communications and a BA in French and Political Science from Gettysburg College. Miranna spends her free time enjoying her children, Adriana (5 years) and Oliver (2 years).


Christopher Machin
Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State

Christopher Machin is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. His previous assignments have included Guangzhou and Shanghai, China; Nicosia, Cyprus; Gaborone, Botswana; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Budapest, Hungary; and most recently the Office of Alumni Affairs in the Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Bureau. As of September 2019, he will assume the duties of Cultural Affairs Officer in Nairobi, Kenya.
Christopher is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. He studied international affairs at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and anthropology at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. He speaks German, Chinese (Mandarin), and Hungarian.


Nnenna Ofobike-Lewis
Senior Program Officer, IREX

Nnenna joined IREX in January 2019 as senior program officer for alumni engagement, coordinating activities for the ever-growing Mandela Washington Fellowship Program alumni network. Nnenna brings a diverse professional background centered on cultural exchange and human capacity-building in Africa. Prior to joining IREX, she worked for five years as senior cultural affairs specialist and EducationUSA adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique. In that capacity, she led local implementation of more than one dozen academic and professional exchange programs, including the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program, and provided academic advising services to students interested in studying in the United States. Previously, Nnenna spent six years working in the U.S. government’s refugee and asylum programs. Both as an asylum officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and as refugee program officer for North and West Africa at the U.S. Department of State, she helped to identify durable solutions for conflict victims and other displaced people around the world. An alumna of the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship, Nnenna spent her own international exchange year in Germany supporting the German federal government’s refugee and migration program and consulting for the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. Nnenna holds a bachelor’s degree in political science with a focus in African American and African studies from the Ohio State University, and a master’s in public policy with a concentration in political and economic development from Harvard University.


Kristen Shannon
Program Officer, IREX

Kristen is a program officer for alumni engagement for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. In this role, Kristen is responsible for curating strategic opportunities to engage the ever-growing Mandela Washington Fellowship alumni network. Prior to IREX, Kristen served as the program manager of the NEA Foundation’s Global Learning Fellowship – a year-long professional development program designed to support American public-school educators develop the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare students for 21st century global citizenship. In this role, Kristen co-authored a K-12 global competency curriculum book, aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals titled “12 Lessons to Open Classrooms and Minds to the World”. Under Kristen’s leadership, the NEA Foundation successfully developed an online open-application system, mentorship program, and a global education course for the Global Learning Fellowship. She also oversaw the successful design and implementation of the Global Learning Fellowship’s week-long international teacher field studies to Peru, China, and South Africa. Kristen is a member of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society for International Studies, and WCAPS: Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security, and yPIE: Young Professionals in International Education. She has previous experience in exchange programs and international affairs through past roles at EF Education First, YFU: Youth for Understanding, and the IESC: International Executive Service Corps. She is an alumna of American University’s School of International Service, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in international studies with foci in international development, public administration, and policy. Kristen also studied community development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa.


Jessica O’Higgins Zanikos
Program Officer, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

Jessica is a Program Officer in the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Study of the U.S. Branch. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State Jessica was the Assistant Director at the Institute of International Education (IIE) overseeing the NEA Fulbright Programs. Previously Jessica worked on the Critical Language Scholarship Program at American Councils overseeing and developing the Arabic and Swahili language institutes. She has a master’s degree in Comparative Politics from Central Michigan University and completed study abroad programs in Amman, Jordan and Cairo, Egypt where she studied Arabic and conducted research on civic education. In her free time Jessica spends time with her two young children, Izzy (3 years) and Brendyn (1 year).